In the growing of house plants, the first aim should be healthy plants, and after that early and abundant blossoms. The latter is usually the great object, and too eagerly sought,an object, however, which can be attained only by following certain well-established rules, and attending carefully to the many wants of the plants,just as carefully, in short, as if they were so many children placed in one's charge. In many respects plants are like children. They must be properly fed, housed, and protected from the enemies which would destroy them. This done, they will grow and flourish, and delight the whole household. And what is more beautiful in the home than children and flowers ? But, if it is not given to every family to have children, certainly every family can have a plant of some kind, even if it be only a geranium, a rose, or an ivy.
How often we hear the remark, " Her flowers are her children " ! and when one meets such a woman, he finds her full of enthusiasm and love for the plants which crowd her windows. Such a person usually needs no instruction about the growing of flowers; for she is generally well informed concerning their culture, and the suggestions we offer will not be new to her. Unfortunately, however, there is a large class who keep a few plants, which for some reason are stunted, unsightly, and a positive annoyance to their owners. They tend them well, or think they do; and yet they do not flourish. This state of things is due, not to a lack of care, but to a lack of knowledge touching a few simple rules which lie at the basis of successful window-gardening. It is for this class that the following directions and suggestions are offered, which, if carried out, will insure healthy, luxuriant, and blooming plants,the delight and pride of the cultivator.